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Monday, June 14, 2021

Where’s my stimulus? What you need to know about collecting your economic impact payment

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It’s mid-April and the time is finally here. Millions of taxpayers are receiving the economic relief that many have been waiting for.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service began sending out millions of stimulus payments to taxpayers nationwide. An expected 80 million stimulus checks, known as economic impact payments, are expected to be deposited to taxpayers’ bank accounts this week alone.

The first payments will be issued starting with lower income taxpayers who filed a 2018 or 2019 return and have direct deposit information on file with the IRS. 

The economic impact payment is $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married filers and an additional $500 for each qualifying dependent under age 17. 

The IRS expects that most Americans should have their stimulus within the next couple of weeks, and most taxpayers don’t need to do anything to receive the stimulus payment. While the majority of taxpayers need not do anything more than wait, there are some who may need to take extra steps to get their stimulus check. 

Certain groups — such as low-income taxpayers, social security beneficiaries, veterans and others with disabilities — are eligible for the economic impact payment even if they didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return. These individuals who weren’t required to file can still receive the economic impact payment but must file a simple return to meet stimulus requirements.

To make this easier, the IRS collaborated with the Free File Alliance to create the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” portal for those who need to file a simple return. 

“People who don’t have a return filing obligation can use this tool to give us basic information so they can receive their Economic Impact Payments as soon as possible,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The IRS and Free File Alliance have been working around the clock to deliver this new tool to help people.”

Generally, if a taxpayer made under $12,200, or $24,400 for married filers, they were not required to file a 2019 return. The IRS has a tool — “Non-Filer: Enter Payment Here” — that allows those who don’t normally file a return to enter their information so a simple 2019 return can be filed by Free File on their behalf. 

Social Security beneficiaries and railroad retirees will automatically receive their stimulus payment directly deposited to the same account as their benefits. But to receive payments for qualifying dependents, they’ll need to add any dependent information to the non-filer tool to ensure they receive the economic impact payment they qualify for.

The portal can tell you if you’re eligible for the payment and includes a detailed list of documents that you need to provide. Gather your documents as soon as possible to get things rolling on your stimulus check.

You’ll need to provide basic information so the IRS can confirm eligibility and then calculate and send the payment.

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 return but did not provide direct deposit information, you’re expected to be among the last taxpayers receiving their stimulus check.

Taxpayers who have not received their stimulus yet want to know where their money is. And those without direct deposit info on file with the IRS still want to get their payment now.

To help, the IRS has the IRS2Go app. The app allows taxpayers to track their stimulus payment status, confirm if you want it mailed or directly deposited and update taxpayer direct deposit information.

Using the app to update information with the IRS allows taxpayers to receive their economic impact payment much faster in comparison to waiting on the check to arrive in the mail. Receiving your stimulus check by mail is an option, too.

The IRS also has an online tool — “Get My Payment” — where you can submit the required personal information from your most recent tax return (2018 or 2019) and the account where your payment should be deposited. The portal will let you know if you’re eligible for the economic impact payment, the expected disbursement date and even request any additional information they may need to deposit your check.

“Get My Payment” functions a lot like the IRS2Go app, which allows taxpayers to see the status of their refund. It’s easy to use, and there’s nothing to download. The IRS recommends checking your status once a day.

For more information and guidance about the coronavirus stimulus relief payments, formally titled economic impact payments, visit the IRS online.

Brittany Sabalza, enrolled agent, is director of tax education at Pro Tax Solutions Indianapolis and a tax columnist.

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